North Riverfront Vision Offers Development Plan With or Without NFL Stadium

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook6Share on Reddit0Print this pageEmail this to someone

North Riverfront Park by Forum Studio - St. Louis, MO

This past November it was announced that Great Rivers Greenway would commission a six month study of the city’s near north riverfront, a largely industrial area dotted with vacant buildings and lots, but also home to the $500M Lumiere Casino and Four Seasons Hotel, The Landing, the new Bissinger’s Chocolate factory and event space, and adjacent to the $350M Arch grounds renovation.

While there’s plenty of space to work with, there’s been an incredible amount of investment in the area over the past few years. The remaining vacancy is a testament to just how much empty land there is. If a stadium were to incorporate the vision here, reduce surface parking, and be built alongside parks, apartments, and offices, we might be onto something. (GRG is soliciting feedback via this survey – open until 7/24)

North Riverfront Park by Forum Studio - St. Louis, MO

North Riverfront Park by Forum Studio - St. Louis, MO

Plans have come and gone before of course. What’s different here? Great Rivers Greenway is an organization that can get things done. It has a talented staff, significant funding, political support, and a clear vision of connecting the city to the Mississippi River.

Of course that won’t be enough. Companies aren’t currently elbowing one another to get to the front of the move-downtown line. Office vacancy is higher than it should be. Residential is strong, but it’s not clear that the growth seen in the 2000s can continue at the north riverfront location. And downtown has green space. In addition to the dozen or so acres being added to the 91-acre Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, we have this thing called the Gateway Mall. West of City Garden, we’ve seemingly completely forgot all the strategic planning that was focused on this expanse of urban green space.

North Riverfront Park by Forum Studio - St. Louis, MO

The drawings and vision from Forum Studio and Great Rivers Greenway are beautiful. The Innovation Park buildings sleek. The Energy Plaza, Mound Point, Great Lawn, Media Wall, Metro Plaza, Barge Park and Beer Garden…all very cool. A number of existing buildings appear to remain, including the Laclede Power building, the William A. Kerr Foundation, and others. Even the Cotton Belt building is show incorporated into an innovation district.

The bet is that some combination of public incentives and private investment can make it happen. Perhaps that, and an NFL stadium. The vision purportedly works with or without the NFL, and boards simply show the existing stadium proposal east of Lumiere Casino, with other infill development to the east and within Laclede’s Landing. In the end, it’s fun to envision an activated riverfront with half a dozen different activity hubs, but finding the thousands upon thousands of new jobs, residents, and visitors to make it a reality is the real challenge.

North Riverfront Park by Forum Studio - St. Louis, MO

North Riverfront Park by Forum Studio - St. Louis, MO

North Riverfront Park by Forum Studio - St. Louis, MO

North Riverfront Park by Forum Studio - St. Louis, MO

North Riverfront Park by Forum Studio - St. Louis, MO

More from the GRG open house:

7.8.15 Open House: North Riverfront Open Space & Redevelopment Plan

More presentations from Emma Klues

North Riverfront Park open house boards - St. Louis, MO

North Riverfront Park open house boards - St. Louis, MO

North Riverfront Park open house boards - St. Louis, MO

North Riverfront Park open house boards - St. Louis, MO

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook6Share on Reddit0Print this pageEmail this to someone
  • STLEnginerd

    Just a thought. The cities charter doesn’t allow for park land to be developed without a vote, OR swapping said acrage for equivalent acerage “nearby” (see Chouteau Park in the Grove), AND this project if it happens is poised to add significant park acreage to the cities inventory, has any thought been put toward what if any current park acrerage might be delisted as parkland to make way for future developments. I am thinking specifically of the Eternal Flame Park and Kaufman Park flanking the Soldiers Memorial and adjacent to the Gateway mall. My thinking is delist these parcels as park land and hold them until such time as a worthy project is offered. I’m thinking that could be a pretty attractive place for a corporate HQ relocation someday.

    • Alex Ihnen

      IMO, a comprehensive survey of city parks is long overdue. Decisions and changes should move slow with shared public land, but an honest take of the status of some of our parks would tell us we can’t (or at very least, don’t) maintain what we have, nor likely need what we have – unless STL City population jumps to 600K.

    • John R

      I’m not sure if I follow you on the park delisting but if there were a time when strong infill development pressures came to downtown I’d think Kaufman Park lining Tucker would be a top candidate.

      Also, I suspect the greenway/parks developed by GRG on the Riverfront would not fall within the City Parks’ inventory, fwiw.

  • John R

    Speaking of sccial cycling, has there ever been anything approaching the level of Detroit’s Slow Roll rides? I’d love see that take root here, with many hundreds from all backgrounds exploring the city.

    http://www.slowroll.bike/

    • John R

      sorry; obviously this post was for the social cycling post.

  • kjohnson04

    I’ve said it many times; parking isn’t needed downtown, and for that matter, neither is 55/70. It’s a mistake that needs to reversed. Even the unneeded stadium proposal has to work around visible eyesore that is that highway. What GRG is proposing is strong move in the right direction.

    A possible solution for businesses to relocate downtown, might be simple one; abatement of the earnings tax. Locate your business in the “real” downtown of St. Louis and your employees will be exempted. Additionally, your business must pledge to remain in downtown for a period of not less than 25 years.

  • Daniel

    I see the biggest (unspoken) problem that will always hold back the north riverfront area is the highway cutting it off from the rest of downtown. Only when MODOT and local leaders realize that a well connected, surface level street that connects the north riverfront with the rest of downtown will we see something like this remotely possible. Until that time, it’s easy to say “I don’t need to worry about that, it’s across the highway.” Case and point is how terrible Lacledes landing is doing right now with all the construction going on with the arch grounds. There are just too few points of access into this area for any meaningful development.

    I urge people to look at http://www.citytoriver.org for more information. Their ideas were great during the development stages of the CityArchRiver project but never implemented. Their ideas still stand as the best thing that could happen to the area.

    • STLEnginerd

      Don’t think i agree completely. In some ways isolation is strength. A big part of what downtown lacks compared to competing district such as CWE and Clayton is exclusive highend executive housing. Now i don’t expect to start building expansive SingleFamily estates on the near north riverfront but north of the MLK to the Musial Bridge exclusive premium condo developments with awe-inspiring terraces could definitly work here. Connecting it to Columbus Square and Old North would be valuable to those districts, but wouldn’t necessarily increase the value of the North Riverfront district significantly and if i’m being completely honest might be seen as a drawback. Especially early on when its just getting established. The area is large enough to self sustain as a neighborhood and connected enough to sell as being adjacent to CBD. I think IMHO it would be more valuable to focus its uses on premium housing options. Build Innovation centers and corporate HQs in CBD and Downtown West where there is better connectivity with the region.

      • Daniel

        I agree with you that whatever is done in the north riverfront should not take away from the CBD. Certainly premium condos would be pretty awesome as well. But I still think nothing premium will be built in the area with the elevated highway so close. Even a surface street would be large enough to get the separation you desire

        • John R

          An unfortunate thing about the Near North Riverfront is that the two truly blighting parcels appear to be untouchable…. i.e. the electrical substation fronting Broadway and the riverfront storage tank operation just south of the Stan Span; I don’t see anything premium going next to those regardless of access.

          • tbatts666

            I believeThey can prettify the electrical substation.

            I think i am pretty clueless as to what extent these industrial buildings despoil the livability of a place, and to what distance do we need to keep housing away from industry?

            We have a lot of barriers to good urbanism along the riverfront, but we also have so many amnenties! We already have those nice narrow streets, we got the riverfront, we got the riverfront trail system, proximity to transit, a lot of good architecture.

            I already want to move out there.

  • dJ

    This shit is sooo stupid it’s unbelievable that we are wasting $ for thr pointless drawings. We got no activity downtown but hey let’s plan something near downtown. These kind of nonsense plans should be forgotten until we have an active downtown and then grow from there

    • Adam

      how do you propose to make downtown active without investment?

      • Luftmentsch

        There has been lots of investment. Rents are still low; vacancy rights are still high. You’re not going to “activate” downtown by just throwing more money at it.

        • Adam

          er, no. residential occupancy downtown is above 90% largely due to rehabbed historic buildings. commercial vacancy is high; it’s not a coincidence that there’s been very little investment in downtown infrastructure (sidewalks, streets, lighting, etc.) and commercial space. investment in the north riverfront, in particular, has just begun within the past few years with things like Farmworks, the Stamping Lofts, and Bissenger’s.

          • Luftmentsch

            Meant to say “office vacancy,” but whatever. Does someone seriously think that downtown is a healthy residential market right now? (Maybe someone could ask Craig Heller?) Where is the new development? The Arcade is the exception that proves the rule: subsidized through the wazoo and promising extremely low rents. Where is the retail? Washington Ave got spanking new luxurious infrastructure ten years ago, and it’s pathetic. What happened to the “furniture district?” What happened to the upscale restaurants? I’m not trying to bash downtown, but this endless boosterism isn’t doing anybody any favors.

          • John R

            It isn’t endless boosterism to point out what is happening downtown; residential isn’t heated but it is healthy. You might want to ask Brian Hayden what he thinks. There are at least 200 new market rate units under construction right now with more in the pipeline and CityView renovations are also underway. And at least 300 new subsidized units will be coming to the market soon; 200 of those will be artists’ units that should bring a nice dose of creatives to the OPO area. Other cities may be delivering more new luxury units, but in most — like KC, for example — they also are heavily subsidized. Hopefully we’ll get a crack at the bat soon at BPV or somewhere else.

          • Adam

            i agree that the Wash Ave makeover was/is crap, but that’s one street. downtown needs better-planned and more encompassing infrastructure updating.

          • Adam

            i also don’t understand how investment, or the suggestion of investment, is equivalent to boosterism.

      • Guest

        Downtown will never become active without corporate presence. Look at the cities that have left us in the dust…Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta…etc. etc. etc. Where are their impressive CBDs? Please, anyone, name one desirable city that has prospered by the brunt of corporate development happening in the suburbs.

        Successful corporations want to be where educated and creative people want to be simply because those are the people who will benefit their work force. Those target people want to be in cities that are vibrant, forward, concerned about sustainability and diverse. People around here need to realize that downtown St. Louis needs to be the center of corporate St. Louis or else we’ll continue our slide down the ladder. If downtown St. Louis isn’t attracting corporations it isn’t healthy. It really is quite simple and all the “ideas” thrown around aren’t going to do much good whether realized or not until we face the reality of how successful cities actually operate. Anyone that doesn’t agree is in serious need of reality check.

        • moorlander

          Dallas? Houston?

          • John R

            Guest said “desirable cities!” Also to be fair the Dallas & Houston downtowns have been doing pretty well even as the burbs do the same…. there is enough growth there for everyone to win, so to speak.

          • Guest

            Maybe you misunderstood my challenge or you need to clarify your response? Are you saying Dallas and Houston are cities that, like St. Louis, has the majority of it’s corporate infrastructure in the suburbs? Then…what are all those skyscrapers in their CBDs doing there? I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with your response. It’s very, very obvious just where Dallas’s and Houston’s brunt of corporate infrastructure is….downtown, where it’s always been, where in reality it makes sense to be.

          • Alex Ihnen

            FWIW, downtown Dallas is not healthy: http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2014/03/new-office-skyscraper-report-shows-downtown-dallas-is-still-lagging-other-major-cities.html/. More anecdotally, I spent a few days in downtown Dallas recently – it feels dead, there’s no grocery, no shopping (outside the first Neiman Marcus), and less to see and do than in downtown St. Louis.

          • John R

            I haven’t been to Dallas in years so I can’t speak of the day-to-day vitality of downtown; however I think it is important to note that JLL’s Skyline Reports only capture the single metric of office occupancy rates of the top Class A mutli-tenant buildings and are not meant to be a measure of a downtown’s overall health or trajectory. And even with office. sometimes a market hits a higher vacancy rate as a result of a glut of new supply (which doesn’t appear to be the case here, though).

            And even the JLL report states downtown is gaining occupancy and a significant amount of office activity is “shifting back to the core.” Shifting back to the core is exactly what we need.

          • moorlander

            Dallas has 18 Fortune 500 companies. Of those only 3 are based downtown (At&t, Tenet, and Energy Future Holdings). HollyFrontier, Dean Foods, and Energy Transfer are located north of downtown in what I would roughly call “uptown.” The remaining are located in the exurbs of Irving (4), Plano (3) and other suburbs

        • Adam

          nothing that i’ve said contradicts what you just said. investing in downtown infrastructure will help attract a more substantial corporate presence as well.

    • John R

      I think the hundreds of construction workers who have been busy downtown would disagree with you that there is no activity downtown, but I agree that it has a long way to go. Like Jeff below, I see this really as having two distinct parts to the plan…. a nearer-term one where GRG will proceed with greenway/riverfront trail enhancements and a longer-term one where private redevelopment projects begin to make the area more of a true neighborhood. Of course GRG has little control over the latter part, but I don’t think there is any doubt it will proceed with improving the riverfront and that there will be at least some additional private investments before too long.

    • Steve Kluth

      Downtown St Louis for years was surrounded by barren wasteland except for Laclede’s Landing. Midtown is now developing, connecting Downtown to the more vibrant areas around SLU and the CWE. However, there is still wasteland north and south of Downtown. To have a great downtown, you also need areas around it where people live, work, and play.

      It’s interconnectivity that makes areas great as each area compliments the others. In the recent past, St Louis had some great areas like the CWE, U City Loop, and South Grand. However, you needed a car to get from one to the other. The city is reaching a threshold where many residents no longer need a car for urban viability. You can go through several dynamic neighborhoods without break from the U City Loop, DeBaliviere, CWE, SLU, to Midtown and adjacent areas like the Grove are rapidly getting there. The north side needs a kick-start. This development might help that along.

      • Adam

        thank you.

    • Luftmentsch

      I tend to to aggree. Focus on realizing the promise of past projects: Washington Ave, OPO Square, the area around the Public Library, and the MX. (not to mention the Famous Barr building). So much money, so much bullshit….precious little in the way of results. How about a public campaign to get non-profits to locate in the CBD, the way they do in other cities? (Why is Great Rivers Greenway on the Delmar Loop? Why is the Sierra Club in Maplewood?!) How about a campaign to get major corporations to put SOME kind of presence in the CBD, even if it’s just symbolic. If Enterprise, Monsanto, Emerson, etc. all had “back offices” in the CBD and their names slapped up on buildings, it would be huge start toward the renewal of downtown as a place for office workers…..Then we can talk about expansion.

      • John R

        I have to disagree with you here a bit. The M/X and OPO areas are really starting to come into their own and have seen a ton of redevelopment activity; sure they still have a way to go but they are beginning to show some real results that are making downtown almost feel vibrant again. Hopefully we can connect the two with more activity around Mercantile Library and RR/X and corporations deciding to locate in the surrounding towers will help.

        I do agree the Wash Ave loft district and surrounding area has had some stumbles and hopefully it will regain its footing. As far as the Public Library, what’s wrong with a public fundraising campaign that has secured a strong future for this jewel?

        • Luftmentsch

          Once upon a time, we were told that the park between the Library and the Soldiers Memorial would be transformed into a great urban playground. Today they can’t even put back the benches they took away when they “landscaped” it. (Afraid of who might sit on them!) Seen any children in Lucas Park? And what happened to all the development that was supposed to happen west of 14th St? Not sure what counts as a “ton of redevelopment” around the OPO, but Webster U. moving across the street doesn’t strike me as a great coup for the city. I find the MX underwhelming. But maybe I’m missing something.

          • John R

            I don’t recall claims that the Public Library renovation campaign would transform the neighboring park in a great urban playground but perhaps I missed that; regardless, I think the renovation was fantastic and well worth the effort.

            As for the OPO and M/X areas. the recent slew of restaurant openings have been a big boost and it will only get better with more on the way as well as more residents, students, workers and even a top-notch attraction to come within the next few months.

            Yes, downtown, including the CBD, have a long way to go but it isn’t like there isn’t any good news.

          • Luftmentsch

            There’s good news, yes, which is all anyone seems to want to talk about. We need to be forthright about the bad news too, or we’ll never address the underlying issues. Barb Geismann & Co. years ago chased out all the old small retailers that Michael Allen alludes to. There used to be jewellers, for example, all over downtown. There used to be a giant used bookstore on Washington Ave. Who will open a store downtown today without free rent + other subsidies? The YMCA already closed its Marquette location and now they want to close their main branch on Olive (yes, you heard me). Even Cortex is a mixed blessing – since it’s stealing little tech enterprises that should rightly have gone downtown. People need to wake up and face facts or downtown will just continue to be the world’s quaintest social service village, with a few corporate offices held prisoner, and some lawyers on the fringes.

          • John R

            Well, when almost everyone is saying we need to focus on building up downtown before the proposed stadium area I’d hardly say the only thing folks want to talk about is the good news.

          • Great point. Programming the base of a major building on a walkable downtown street with a non-retail activity is a mis-step. Walking past drawn min-blinds is not much different than walking past plywood. Downtown seems to have less retail now than when I was a teenager (when many buildings had empty upper floors). There seems to be no vision for increasing retail or activating sidewalks downtown.

          • John R

            Retail is hard just about everywhere… Macy’s just announced it will close its downtown Pittsburgh store. But I certainly agree there is more that could be done here and we don’t even seem to have a plan; hopefully that is being addressed as part of the downtown review that is going on now.

    • I’ll take a side view of this. Mainly, perhaps the reason there’s low activity or interest downtown is that it’s an island community surrounded by highway infrastructure, lightly used rail yards and low income housing.

      Downtown has become a drive-in community — you’re coming in for one thing and leaving immediately after. Perhaps if rather than multi-billion dollar projects to bolster an already heavily-supported downtown, we should focus on improving its edges.

      I do think there’s merit in the north riverfront stadium if it can bring renewed activity/attention/improvement to the near north area. I imagine a couple of high-rises at Bottle District, a new (or relocated) local craft brewer at the McGuire building, a small but vibrant creative/entrepreneurial community (in new five-story brick office lofts) around the new Tucker/Cass triangle, a move toward a stabilized mixed-income residential area, the completion and connection of the Trestle, and the arrival of North Broadway as an activity center.

      Add in continued neighborhood-level investment and growth in the areas of Old North, Hyde Park, et al. and downtown will suddenly seem a lot better as a place to live, work and play…simply by finally breaking down the damnable “don’t go past [x]” mindset that hurts this city — and its downtown — so much.

      • John R

        I definitely agree the edges of downtown need help and I am all for organic growth there, but what you are describing is somewhat akin to trickle down economics…. if we spend billions outside of downtown, downtown will also become vibrant!

        I’d rather focus investments directly in downtown to build a more vibrant core and then turn to having the new areas infill as market forces drive their way. For example, I’d rather have new towers rise up from BPV and the Drury parcel before a fancy new Bottle District.

        For already established areas like Carr Square, hopefully positive developments like HUD’s Neighborhood Choice program can bring thoughtful, mixed-use, mixed-income redevelopment.

        • STLEnginerd

          Not that i am touting silver bullet concepts but there isn’t a lot of room for big transformative public money investments in the CBD. Basically the parcel available for development need to be developed with private money. If anything the city needs to divest itself of several underutilized parcel selling them to private investors. Sure those investors don’t exist right now but when they eventually do the city needs to look at those opportunities.
          Additionally GRG money is specifically voted for and earmarked for parks/trails development. To the extent that it leads to more development, great, but GRG isn’t building those condos, and I not sure you want to build parks downtown.
          Also as far as downtown goes, its far better for it if there is new development in the Landing/ near north than in CWE, or Clayton. If the near north blows up and becomes the next “it” neighborhood. to be sure downtown will be a big winner.

          • John R

            Any large development is going to require a lot of subsidy; whether it is an infill tower, attracting a large new employer to fill the One AT&T Center or renovating historic buildings like the Railway Exchange or Jefferson Arms…. again, I’m all for smart development in the edges but I don’t want to see those new areas targeted over helping the CBD and downtown proper become denser and more vibrant.

            I agree that GRG is a different story and have said enhancing the Riverfront Trail/Greenway should be a priority; if all of a sudden that is where market forces want to go then great, but I don’t want to artificially target the Near North Riverfront with a big push and subsidies over downtown.

  • Luftmentsch

    One last point: I think the concentration of social services in downtown St. Louis is a massive impediment to any rebirth of the office environment. I don’t think it’s an accident that South Loop redevelopment happened alongside the “dispersement” of social services from that area. On the one hand, it is obviously convenient for low-income and homeless people to find so many services in one area, close to public transportation. On the other hand, it’s not clear that the creation of a social services village has been good for anyone. At the very least, the County needs to be pressured to do more for it’s low-income pop., so that downtown isn’t always the first choice in emergency assistance.

  • Luftmentsch

    I don’t think the mentality of St. Louis corporations is any different than companies in other regions. The problem here is that 1) downtown is not considered an attractive place to live and entertain and 2) there is little or no embarassment or shame for companies that operate out of business parks in the burbs. United Airlines, Motorola, Boeing, Archer Daniels all both moved into downtown Chicago because they thought it would help them attract young employees, gain greater visibility, and provide a bump in PR. We have got to improve the overall image of downtown, and we need to ramp up the argument that any corporate windbag claiming to be socially responsible (think David Stewart at WWT, Neidorff at Centene, Taylor at Enterprise) should be moving at least SOME of his operations into the city.

    • pat

      great point. It’s time for corporate leadership in STL to show some civic leadership.

      • matimal

        It’s time for new start-ups to show what downtown can be that Clayton cannot.

  • Jeff Leonard

    I went to the open house. Talked to Susan Trautman. She said GRG was going to move forward on their own to build out LKS bikeway north. Including some of the surrounding park space. While GRG will stay involved, others will have to carry this vision, or something like it, forward. I spoke to reps from Forum, HOK, others. They all agree the private sector will have to bring this to life. This is only a guideline on how it could come together.

    A similar vision in Columbus – The Arena District – took 15 years to come to fruition, all with private sector investment. What was a similarly empty 75 acres in downtown Columbus in 2000 is now completely filled: 1.5M square feet of Class A office space, 300K square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment venues and 800 residential units. Nationwide Insurance developed the entire space, so it held together as a unified plan.

    Here, two things would be the differentiator: first, entice a major suburban company to relocate/expand to this space. I’m thinking of a company like World Wide Technologies. With an anchor, and heft, other office could follow. The second thing is for some developer to put in substantial residential.

    • Tim E

      Jeff, World Wide Technologies has already stated for all and intents and purposes that it is moving its HQ within the safe confines of Westport Plaza next to I270. That is the big huge difference and obstacle St. Louis has. All the big name expanding corporations are fully entrenched in their suburban campuses.
      .
      I think what is even more frustrating is corporate leadership with such companies like World Wide Technologies won’t go out of its way to state why they won’t make a big transformative move or changes.

      • Jeff Leonard

        Yes, I knew WWT was staying in Maryland Heights. But they’re a great example of a company that would otherwise seem to thrive downtown, including the riverfront.

        I agree with you there’s something strange in St. Louis with the lack of corporate leadership in doing the obvious. Some other force(s) are at work. I think it would be good for all of us to figure those out and address them. Crime? The 1% earning tax? The commute? The “lack” of parking?! Those all seem like canards to me.

        • John R

          Again I have to go back to the fact that most companies won’t even look at the Clayton CBD… there is something very wrong with our corporate community that is all but failing to utilize Metrolink, etc. There are exceptions and god bless ’em, but I’m not sure what will change the Country Club-ism that has infected so much of our corporate and civic leadership. The further we continue on our present course the further we’ll fall behind other regions.

      • Jeff Leonard

        And here’s another example (again from Columbus) that blows the conventional wisdom: Nationwide moved thousands of jobs out of downtown to the suburb of Dublin (think Chesterfield) in the 80s and 90s. Two years ago they announced they were moving over 3,000 jobs out of Dublin back to the CBD. See link.

        http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2014/06/27/nationwide-moving-3-400-workers-from-dublin-as-it.html

        Can you imagine how that would change perceptions in St. Louis if one of our Fortune 500 companies did the same?? All it takes is one. There has to be one. Maybe Panera, or some other company with a more evolved sense of moral purpose (i.e. the non country-club types as John R calls them).

        • John R

          Jeff, as some have stated the riverfront would be a great new home for Bunge NA, which reportedly is looking for a new home. I envision them taking the larger warehouse that is the nearest to the Landing of the bunch along with infill of the same scale…. it would be awesome.

          As for the Arena District, I think the building design and density there would be excellent for the area and would complement the rehab of the existing warehouses; however, one advantage the AD has is that it is much closer to the CBD and more accessible. I think it would be more equivalent to a new 22nd Street interchange district, perhaps with Wells-Fargo Advisors helping build out a new mixed-use district in Downtown West. So with that in mind, I think the mix more likely would have a larger residential orientation in the Near North Riverfront than the significant commercial/office that is in the Arena District.

          • STLEnginerd

            Monsanto, Bunge, Malincrodt Boeing. These don’t surprise me when they consolidate into suburban campuses. In alot of ways it makes sense to isolate you R&D and production so that you can maintain trade secrets. Its the companies that survive on brand awaremness (some big some small) that amaze me. Panera, Energizer, Edgewell, EdwardJones, Rawlings, Drury Hotels, Build-a-Bear.
            I think one of the biggest gut punch for Downtown St. Louis has been the loss of so many nationally recognized brands over the decade. Its also amazing to me how many product tie their origin to St. Louis sadly it seems a lot of it is built in tehir company history books rather than modern employment opportunities.

  • Tim E

    In the meantime, A five story office building with parking structure proposed for Chesterfield Valley Behind Post Dispatch Pay wall so I don’t have details. That could easily fit in CORTEX./US Metals Site. I can see N. Riverfront taking some time to develop and the Rams stadium issue has to resolve itself but come on CORTEX & City!! You need to compete!!

    • John R

      It looks like a spec building as part of the Delmar Gardens office development. I believe it is this building here listed by DTZ:

      http://www.loopnet.com/xNet/Looplink/Profile/Profile.aspx?LID=18448035&STID=CassidyTurley&LL=true

      Personally, I think tenants looking to possibly lease there likely will have little interest in Clayton or downtown. That’s not the way they roll.

      • rgbose

        Isn’t $32/sf/yr a lot?

        • Tim E

          To me it does, isn’t that on par with Clayton CBD or slightly more? Which gets to the question on when will Montgomery Bank will pull trigger on space in Clayton? or will it?
          .
          I’m sill surprised that we haven’t heard about spec space in the works on the CORTEX US metals site now that the parcel is secured and demo started and or is completed. Understand that the Tech Shop building will have some spec space but believe in my opinion that one spot that could secure some financing for a sizeable chunk of Class A spec space in the city right now is CORTEX US Metals.
          My gut reaction is that both Clayton and Central corridor in the city could lose out without any action.
          My gut reaction is that both Clayton and Central corridor in the city could lose out without any action. If I’m right on my gut feeling, it will be a long long long time for any meaningful square footage for North Riverfront

        • John R

          $32 bucks definitely is higher than the Class A average in the Clayton CBD but new construction is expensive. I’d like to see what Armstrong Teasdale is paying for the Centene Building; I imagine that is one of the highest lease rates in town, although of course that project was subsidized per usual.

          • John R

            btw, you can get decent Class A downtown for almost half of that 32 bucks per sq. ft. in wonderful Chesterfield.

          • matimal

            but you have to walk all the way to your car and drive through six traffic lights, park and walk across a large parking lot just to buy a cup of coffee. You get what you pay for.

          • John R

            well that is downright priceless; you can’t possible put a monetary value on that!

          • moorlander

            I’m guessing slightly more than Cassidy Turley is paying ($32.50/sqft)

            http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2010/10/04/story7.html

          • John R

            Thanks. I think it is fully leased now, too, so I suppose it would be even higher if something new were to become available.

            And not closing that deal to have Centene relocate to BPV was a huge, huge loss for downtown. Not only did we miss hundreds of new workers coming to downtown, we actually lost a few hundred moving out to the new Class A building. Plus we most likely would have had others follow Centene’s lead back downtown.

          • A massive, massive flub-up — whether the Cardinals weren’t ready/interested, their development partner stubborn, the City flaccid in its directive, or other.

            If Centene built there, that’s a major feather in the cap of the Ballpark Village and one that likely fast-tracks development to the point we’ve got only two or three undeveloped (or un proposed) parcels at BPV, rather than the seven or so that currently exist as lifeless parking in the center of our freaking downtown!

        • John R

          Per Biz Journo, JLL’s Skyline Report says rent in Clayton’s 4 top tier “trophy buildings” is just over $31 per sq foot. JLL’s only trophy buildings for the region are in Clayton, btw.

  • Brian

    The one asset that this project has that the Bottle District, Gateway Mall, etc., lack is access to the river. There are very few places in St. Louis where one can even see the river, much less access it. I was in Washington last month and was impressed by the development that is taking place down by the Navy Yard. The view across the Anacostia is somewhat better than that across the Mississippi, but I still believe people will be drawn to work and live in the North Riverfront if the development is done right.

    The location of City Garden was a dead zone between isolated office buildings and parking garages on the south and mostly vacant, outmoded buildings on the north; it was not exactly a place that screamed “build it, and they will come.” But they built it, and the people came. Not just office drones and jury-duty zombies, but families from other parts of the city came in the evening to be delighted by setting. A well-done project on the riverfront will have the same drawing power. Appeal to urbanites by pushing automobiles to the periphery, having ground-level retail, and flexible work/living space.

    To be sure, there are many challenges; for instance, how do you deal with the flood wall, the petroleum terminal, and Ameren’s block-long cage of death by electrocution? I believe a football stadium would kill the whole deal, and should not be built. It would completely wipe out Zones 4 & 5, and most of Zone 3, and make the area unsuitable for residential. However, a much smaller soccer stadium (18,000 capacity) might be possible, perhaps at the north end of the site.

    • John R

      My take is that GRG definitely will proceed with enhancements to its parcels (and those of the LRA/City) and will be undergoing a fundraising campaign as part of that effort; how fancy/elaborate it gets will depend upon funding. I think this will help spur private redevelopment as well as advance the core recreational functions of the greenway/trail, but I think it will take some time before the area north of the McKinley Bridge resembles a true neighborhood.

      I’m hopeful that the Landing will see more immediate progress and of course there are rumors floating about on a variety of projects there.

      • jhoff1257

        Did you mean the Martin Luther King Bridge? Because the McKinley bridge is quite a ways north of here.

        • John R

          oopsies!

    • opendorz

      Frankly, I think the Mississippi River is a prime hindrance in that it is God-awful ugly. Unlike the Ohio R. along it’s string of cities, our Muddy Miss is flat, and poop brown. But the worst is the horrible view eastward to the Illinois bank. I’ve lived here over 50 years and nothing has every happened to improve that eyesore. Unless you count a garish casino and a twice-a-day water geyser.

  • SnakePlissken

    Looks just as sexy as the Bottle District plans and is equally unlikely it’ll ever be built. Their aren’t enough people or jobs in this region to make this happen. I hope it does though, we need to activate our riverfront and do it immediately but at STL’s slow pace I’ll be in my 60’s (32 now) by the time we have NS metro link, Streetcar lines and a revitalized riverfront (including the South side). It’s great to have grand plans and hopefully, Arch grants and Cortex can create massive amounts of new jobs this City needs to add these new riverfront districts.

    I’m a huge fan of Great Rivers Greenway and hope they continue to build on their already impressive list of accomplishments. Thanks to them I’ve enjoyed hundreds of hours of fitness recreation.

    PS Lets go St. Louis FC.

    • Joe Schmoe

      I found demand concerns to be mostly bullshit. Demand concerns didnt stop STL from building in flood plains or needless expanding expressways into farmland.

      • Tim E

        Point taken Joe, but the demand concerns you consider BS is resulting in businesses and people dictating where development is happening and it isn’t happening nearly as much in the city. The reality is the city has to compete with its surroundings.
        .
        So I have to agree with Snake in some respects. Renderings, zoning for density, TOD plans, etc. is just not enough period. Something fundamentally has to change on the city side as far as businesses and employees are concerned. City Aldermen finally approving a new business code is one. City Aldermen pushing hard to have crimes solved, add policemen, etc will be a HUGE help (Richmond, CA has had some great success as of late when it comes to violent crime), City reforming city departments, clear out the red tape along with unnecessary employees is another.

        • John R

          Tim, I agree with you that the City needs to improve its act; on the other hand, too much of our corporate community is retrograde in terms of even wanting to get on the Central Corridor bandwagon, whether its downtown or Clayton.

          The corporate sprawl beyond Lindbergh truly is amazing and the utter lack of interest in capitalizing on Metrolink, etc. is headscratching. We deserve better from our corporate community at large.